June 3, 2018 / 8:32 AM / in 5 months

Rugby-Erasmus admits Boks need to step up for England challenge

WASHINGTON, June 3 (Reuters) - South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus admitted a major step up in performance is needed from his side after a second-string selection lost an error-strewn test 22-20 to Wales at Robert F Kennedy Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

The Springboks led late in the game but ended up losing when replacement flyhalf Robert du Preez had a clearance kick charged down and Wales prop Ryan Elias was able to score the winning try.

The side now return to South Africa for the start of their three-test series against England at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

“We will have to step up against England. We know the pressure will be on us to win, just as they would also be under pressure to be successful following their recent results,” Erasmus said at the post-match press conference.

“We knew there would be risks involved by only coming over later in the week, but we’re not making any excuses. The Welsh showed more determination in the end to clinch the game.”

Erasmus pinpointed his side’s kicking errors as a major factor in their defeat, while the defence was also an area of concern.

“All their tries were scored as a result of kicking – a charged down kick and box kicks we failed to control – and also we committed some defensive errors,” he said.

“We had our chances to score, and overall I think it was the pressure which they were able to put on us at the end that won it for them.

“The one positive for me is that there were quite a few new players who got caps today and now know what it’s like to play against a quality team like the Welsh, but it’s still a test that we lost, and that hurt.

“It’s never nice when you play your first test and you lose, and we didn’t want that result, but we wanted to get all of the uncapped players on the field and start building towards the future.

“However, we still lost and that almost nullified the fact that we capped a lot of new players.”

Erasmus is hoping to revive the fortunes of the Boks, who have endured a difficult two years under former coach Allister Coetzee that saw them win just 11 of their 25 tests. (Reporting By Nick Said; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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